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HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College has named Harmony Cross its first dean of Student Development, Engagement and Inclusion.

This new position combines the responsibilities of two previous jobs at the college — dean of Students and director of Retention and Student Success — with an increased emphasis on education equity.

Cross began her new role July 6.

“I am honored to serve as the inaugural dean of Student Development, Engagement, and Inclusion at HCC,” said Cross, who was born and raised in Syracuse, N.Y. “I am excited to join such a thriving organization of students, faculty, and staff. As an advocate for educational equity, I am impressed by the college’s commitment to removing barriers so students can engage in a holistic collegiate experience. I look forward to partnering with members of the HCC community to continue the college’s legacy and efforts and help reinforce its mission, vision, and values.”

Before coming to HCC, Cross served as director of the New York State Education Department’s Higher Education Opportunity Program at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, where she managed and developed holistic services and high-impact practices for students who might not have considered attending college because of their academic and economic backgrounds.

Prior to that, Cross worked as program director for the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx and area coordinator for 15 co-ed residential facilities at Widener University in Chester, Pa. She has also taught college-level, first-year transition courses and leadership classes and coached students on conflict resolution and mediation techniques.

“We are so happy to have Harmony join our college team,” said HCC President Christina Royal. “Her education and experience in student affairs, student services and academic affairs position her perfectly to create and support a transformational student development experience for HCC students.”

Cross earned her M.Ed. In Educational Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education at Temple University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from North Carolina Central University, where she was a Division I collegiate athlete in track and field.

She is currently working on her Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration at Bradley University.